Bill wants to abolish
Stadium Authority

If passed, control of Aloha Stadium
would be turned over to UH

A bill that would give the University of Hawaii control of Aloha Stadium was deferred after a hearing before two state house committees yesterday.

"It was a good opportunity to gather information," said State Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Pearl City-Newtown-Royal Summit), who introduced the bill. "For it to go any further this year may be wishful thinking. There are too many concerns."

If the bill became law, it would abolish the Aloha Stadium Authority, which now runs the 30-year-old, 50,000-seat Halawa facility.

Stadium manager Eddie Hayashi testified at the hearing.

"Although some might disagree, the stadium is more than a simple venue for UH athletics. The stadium is home to HPU baseball, ILH and OIA interscholastic football, high school baseball and soccer as well as the HHSAA playoffs and state tournaments. It is also home to numerous high school graduations, DARE events and community events like the Great Aloha Run," Hayashi's statement read, according to stadium spokesman Patrick Leonard. "Will these groups still be given the kind of priority and rent-free use of the facilities now enjoyed under the Stadium Authority? Or would these conditions change if the bill is enacted?"

UH pays approximately $800,000 per year for use of the stadium.

"When you think about it, the high schools play for free, the Pro Bowl plays for free, and the University of Hawaii is the only one picking up a tab," UH athletic director Herman Frazier said.

UH interim president David McClain provided testimony for the hearing.

"We're obviously interested in the stadium, since we pay several hundred thousand dollars a year to use it," McClain said in a phone interview last night.

But McClain added that UH needs more information about the stadium's finances before it can decide if it wants control of the facility.

Takai said this is the fourth year in a row he has introduced a bill that would give UH control of the stadium.

"It's an idea that will take some additional time to gain momentum," he said. "At this point there are still concerns from the Stadium Authority and the university."

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